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Red Sea Coral Substance Shown Effective Against Skin Cancer

Posted: May 21, 2009

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SDSU researchers found that treating human skin cancer cells with different concentrations of sarcophine-diol for different lengths of time reduced the viability of cancer cells in each case. Related work showed that sarcophine-diol also inhibited the proliferation or uncontrolled growth of cancer cells.

The SDSU study also showed that sarcophine-diol induced apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in cancer cells. The extent of apoptosis observed in different treatments in the study was correlated to the level of sarcophine-diol used, Dwivedi said.

However, sarcophine-diol did not induce what scientists call necrosis, or the premature death of healthy cells. Dwivedi said that is an important finding because it suggests sarcophine-diol could be used in treatments that specifically target cancer cells without damaging nearby healthy cells.

The SDSU experiment also looked at whether sarcophine-diol treatments could increase what is called DNA fragmentation, considered a biochemical hallmark of apoptosis, an indication that the cell is committed to die, in other words. At lower concentrations, sarcophine-diol didn’t significantly induce DNA fragmentation in skin tumor cells, but higher levels of sarcophine-diol did.

Finally, the SDSU study found that treatments with higher concentrations of sarcophine-diol induced a higher level of so-called “executioner” proteins that have a role in apoptosis, or programmed cell death compared to a control group.